making a toolbox

Subconscious use cue extinguishment
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Apr 2003, 19:28 #11

Hello Splat:
I was out of town most of yesterday and didn't have a chance to get to this post, but our members brought up a number of ideas and concepts that I would have suggested. LornaMc's story of Eddie is a powerful motivator to reinforce just how important the effort is for every person who is quitting smoking is making. It is truly a life and death struggle in the early days of a quit.
As time goes on though, it is no longer a life and death struggle but rather the ex-smoker is preserving his or her health and saving his or her life by basically just not smoking and overall not being consumed by the effort. Not smoking will just become a way of life. Not smoking will become a habit. It will come to the point where you will see people light up and all you will feel will be a sense of pity or you will almost look at the behavior with a sense of detachment, almost not understanding how they could be doing that.
Until that point though, really watch people smoke and with the time you used to waste smoking along side of them, focus your thoughts on the real implications and problems that are being faced by these people. I will attach a few links below to go a little deeper into this visualization technique.
Being tempted watching others smoke
Another slant on how to watch people smoke
Feel how smoking effects your lungs (the post MegBunny was referring to)
Two other posts that Eddie's story above made me think of:

I can't quit or I won't quit
The Isolation of a Widowed Smoker
Watch these people on nice days outside enjoying those cigarettes. Then realize that if the weather is subzero, or sizzling or a torrential downpour or any other inclement condition, they are still going to be out there. Also realize that if their personal condition changes, like if they were not able to smoke through their mouth anymore (see I smoke because I like the flavor) they would still be smoking. See smoking for all it is and you will have the tools necessary to stay committed to never take another puff!
Last edited by Joel on 14 Apr 2009, 13:02, edited 2 times in total.

marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

26 Apr 2003, 20:05 #12

That's a terrific post, Stacey

And of course you've got some terrific response to it from some wise and insightful members, to add to your own acute insight Image

Let me start off by reinforcing something Joel just said. "Not smoking will just become a way of life ". What he means, of course, is that it will become a natural part of your way of life, instinctive, automatic. I always describe it as being like remembering to look both ways for vehicles before you cross the road. We have so many long-term quitters here at Freedom who will all confirm to you that this is where you will get to.

But in the meantime, that toolbox you've started to fill will come ion might useful. The Palmolive bottle demonstration (which I have witnessed at Joel's clinic) is mind-blowing. Once you've seen that, the image will just jump into your head the moment you see someone smoking.

Knowing and seeing someone suffering from smoking-related disease is probably the most powerful shock to your sytem to hold you back from that fatal one puff. It's not something I would wish on anyone, but if you can bear to do it I would suggest you go to your local hospital and visit some people in their cancer wards.

I have always believed in maintaining two Quit Lists. There is the long one you keep adding to as you come to appreciate all the new benefits of having quit, and that gets as long as your arm. It's great to read through avery couple of weeks, because it's a good tool for reinforcing your motivation.

But I also like having a "Critical List" which contains no more than four or five reasons to quit, any one of which would be enough on its own to make you quit, and stay quit. The point of this is that you can memorize it, and call it up in your mind at a difficult moment and recite it out loud to yourself. It's best if each line starts with the key word, and then if you can make an acronym out of it, so much the better.

My Critical List is :

Control - I am now in control of my own life
Appreciation - I now appreciate so many things more, like food, wlaks in the country, relaxing with my family
Self-esteem - I no longer despise myself for being unable to stop doing something I really know I should stop doing

Health - My whole body and mind are healthier than at any time in my life

.... and the whole things reminds me of the CASH I'm saving Image So every time I had a bad moment, I used to think CASH, and recite to myself (sometimes out loud) "Control, A , Self-esteem, Health" and I found that helped a lot. You know, Stacey, I haven't had to do that for nearly two years now, and although I instantly remembered the word "CASH" I just had to struggle to remember what tha "A" stood for Image

You're doing great, Stacey. Never stop thinking about your quit, until you don't have to any more.

Two years, four months, three weeks, five days. 15782 cigarettes not smoked, saving £3,621.87. Life saved: 7 weeks, 5 days

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

26 Apr 2003, 21:30 #13

Hi Splat and I enjoyed reading every post. I have not welcomed you to FREEDOM before and you have come to the right place. I am approaching 6 months of quit and still check in and read. That is very important. I think it is dangerous to get so comfortable with a quit that you quit reinforcing by reading. The mantra never take another puff needs to be engraved in the brain. I also have engraved the saying..this trigger will pass. One thing that keeps me going is the picture of Kim's incision from having her lung removed. I almost never think of a cigarettes anymore, but when I do, this whole list comes to mind. Birky 5mths 1 wk + You can do this!!!!!

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

26 Apr 2003, 22:59 #14

Hi Splat!! I really liked your post and I am glad that you saw smoking for what it really is! I have all sorts of things in my toolbox.
1. the knowledge that for me there is no such thing as one cigarette. ( this is huge: especially when the thought of just one seemed almost unbearable) The One Puff Files this is a sad read and I know that I would be no exception!!
2. looking at my exsmoking life as a way to be a better person. I really felt like a hypocrit a lot of the time especially around children. I hated them seeing me smoke! It was embarrassing.
3. When I felt sorry for myself Or that I was somehow depriving myself of something pleasurable ( ha!) I would and still do visit NONI!! She did not die in vain. Have you met Noni?
4. I had little tricks with myself during the first month or so!! I would go to the gym and when thoughts of smoking came up I would say to myself " ATHLETES DON"T SMOKE" Ha Ha!! I do feel like an athlete now! Positive or self talk worked for me. When I really had a bad urge I would say NICOTINE in a funny voice. After all everything I was going through was a direct result of me inhaling nicotine. I would look at it and say " all this for nicotine" It was powerful. Well now that I sound nuts I will move on .
5. Taking it one day at a time! Moment by moment if need be.
6. BELIEVING that things would get better. It was promised and promised to me by the oldbies and I hung on to those words constantly. And they were right. It wasn't immediate but it was true.
7. FREEDOM SITE where you can come and read and share your feelings. Even when a computer is not near you the knowledge that there are people like us makes all the difference.
Take care of yourself and thanks for your post. I see you have a lot of good feedback. Lornamacs post made me cry! Keep up the great stats !! YQF Lena 4+
Last edited by Lena (SILVER) on 14 Apr 2009, 13:03, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:08

28 Apr 2003, 06:39 #15

My addition to the tool-box is the knowledge i gained after reading about
the blood sugar level. I hardly think of smoking now after two months and
it always helps me when i think about the sugar level.


splat bronze
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:39

30 Apr 2003, 22:46 #16

hi all. Image

i just wanted to post a thank you to each of you who responded to my post.
individually, each of you gave me something. your honesty, experience, and encouragement is truly inspiring. together, you've become a great tool that i think i will always be able to use.

already i am grateful to be an ex-smoker. while i might have been able to stop smoking on my own, i am so glad that i didn't try. you guys and this site give me so much more than not picking up a cigarette one day at a time. you give me gratitude, peace of mind, and the smile that is currently on my face.

thank you. you've changed my life for the better.

warmest wishes,

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 May 2003, 03:14 #17

I'm with Parker, Splat, you've done an amazing job of transforming a "wanting" mind into a tool of observation, reason, logic and honesty. I doubt we'll find a more powerful tool for that toolbox of yours than what you've given it - a motivated and educated mind that demands honesty. In my mind it isn't a question of not having what it takes but more a matter of losing what we already have.
It may have been the "perfect" recipe for relapse (a little chilly, a little late and conversation a bit too deep) but nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life is pretty much the same for your girlfriend as it is for every other nicotine addict on earth, including the hundreds of thousands who at this very second think they are smoking because the telephone just rang or because the telephone didn't ring, because they're bored or because they're not bored and in the company of many many friends, because they're hungry or because they just finished a nice big meal, because they just awoke or because it's time for bed, because they're about to walk into a store or because they're just walking out of another, because they're getting into the car or getting out, because they're happy or sad, have one cigarette left or a full pack, or think they're smoking because they are at a specific location, a certain time of day or even around that special person who also happens to be chemically dependent upon mandatory regular nicotine feedings til death - or recovery - do they part!
In fact, unless we accelerated metabolizing our body's nicotine reserves by sensing stress, consuming large quantities of vitamin C or drinking alcohol, all the other romantic feeding times were simply "early" at best Image
Education is something that it's pretty darn hard to lose, Splat. What I'd like to see in that toolbox is a way for Splat to keep his core motivations and day #1 reasons for seeking freedom as vibrant and alive on day 31 and 44 as they were on day 13!
Should the excitement and newness of this temporary journey of adjustment begin to wane - creating fertile ground for junkie thinking - what tool will pull from your box to refresh, revive and renew it, Splat? What good is swimming half way across an amazing river to paradise (to the waiting arms of a comfortable "you") before turning back to face dependency, decay, and disease?
This isn't a hard journey but it does require patience and sustained motivation. Which tool will we reach for should we sense "junkie thinking" beginning to infect our recovery? I say, fill our box with honest memories of what life as a daily nicotine smoker was like, with why we wanted our freedom so badly back on day #1, and with every honest realizations (like your "feeding time" realization on the pier) that we can possibly grab hold of during recovery.
Thanks for the thread, Splat! In the end there will always be only one rule - no nicotine - Never Take Another Puff! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 14 Apr 2009, 13:04, edited 1 time in total.

Em B 12106
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:06

17 Feb 2006, 07:33 #18

ImageImageImageImageMy Critical List is :

Control - I am now in control of my own life
Appreciation - I now appreciate so many things more, like food, wlaks in the country, relaxing with my family
Self-esteem - I no longer despise myself for being unable to stop doing something I really know I should stop doing

Health - My whole body and mind are healthier than at any time in my life

.... and the whole things reminds me of the CASH I'm saving Image So every time I had a bad moment, I used to think CASH, and recite to myself (sometimes out loud) "Control, A , Self-esteem, Health" and I found that helped a lot.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 Feb 2006, 08:34 #19

HI, I'm still a beginner, so really have no right to be giving advice...but still, there are three things that I hang onto and use everytime a trigger nags me.
first is the smoker's Vow. Boy.....that one really hits home.
second is remembering about the sugar imbalance. ..learning to control that really was the biggest help I can imagine
and third is something I read here someplace. Someone said to wear a thick rubber band on your wrist and when a trigger hits,just snap it lightly while you remind yourself that you don't smoke anymore....something about the snap and the reminder at the same time seems to stop that trigger cold.
annie a newbie at one week,and twenty seven minutes...but planning for sure to NTAP

forza d animo
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

02 May 2006, 08:44 #20

"I watched my girlfriend pull a cigarette out of her pack and I reminded myself that she wasn't smoking because it was a perfect thing to do in a perfect moment, but because she was reaching the end of a nicotine cycle and her body was demanding more. I watched her and I reminded myself that she wasn't smoking because she wanted to, but because she had to."